Travel corridor list shortens and travel ban introduced by UK government
Five destinations have been removed from England’s travel corridors list, and travel into the UK from several South American destinations, Portugal, Panama and Cape Verde has been banned.
Aruba, Bonaire, Qatar and St Eustatius and Saba have been removed from England’s list of travel corridors by the UK government following a significant increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in these countries. From 16 January 2021, people arriving in the UK from these destinations will need to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival.
Additionally, from 15 January 2021, passengers who have been in or transited through Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Panama, Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores), Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela in the last 10 days will no longer be granted access to the UK.
This does not include British and Irish Nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK, who will still be able to enter the UK, but they will be required to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival, along with the entirety of their household. Passengers arriving in the UK from these countries from 15 January 2020 cannot be released from self-isolation through the Test to Release scheme, as passengers travelling from countries not on the travel corridors list can.
This is in response to new evidence highlighting the likely spread of a new coronavirus variant in South America and to countries with strong travel links with Brazil. Therefore, the government has introduced the travel ban in order to prevent the spread of the new strain into the UK.
Any exemptions usually in place – including for those related to employment – will not apply, although hauliers who have been in or transited through Portugal (only) in the last 10 days will be exempt to allow transport of essential goods.
People currently in Aruba, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, Chile, Qatar, Madeira and the Azores are encouraged to follow the local rules, return home as normal and check the travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for further information.
At the same time, the FCDO has updated its travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to Aruba, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, Chile, Qatar, the Azores and Madeira.
The UK government has always said that it will take decisive action, if necessary, to contain the virus, including if the public health risk of people returning from a particular country without self-isolating becomes too high.
National restrictions for England introduced on 6 January 2021 still remain in place, meaning that everyone must stay at home unless travelling for a very limited set of reasons, including for work. This means that people can no longer travel to take holidays or travel internationally unless for work or other legally permitted reasons. Those in breach of the rules face penalties starting at £200, rising to a maximum of £6,400.
In addition, from 18 January 2021, passengers from all destinations will also be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before travelling to England to help protect against new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally and to identify those that may currently be infectious.